The premier journal of http://clinomania.blogspot.com criticism.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
On "Dear Steve" (6/21)
Readers may find it unusual for us to delve so deeply into the past; by and large we intend to keep our criticism current. After all, we make no claim to being the Internet's premier source of clinomania.blogspot historicsm, but rather its premier source of contemporary criticism. But our office only recently received its screener copy of "Napoleon Dynamite." Embarrassing, we know, to take on a text without studying its informing sources, so hopefully now we can add to and illuminate our previous ruminations on this subject. Furthermore, this journey into yesteryear may provide readers with inspiration to do their own explorations and re-examinations of posts gone by from Jack.
In any case, by and large we agree with Jack's fury at someone hating "Napoleon Dynamite." Note here that we have not read Mr. Denby's review. This is for the entirely sound reason that we never read movie reviews except in retrospect, and frankly don't understand the point of providing a plot summary and pre-fabricated opinion on the day of a movie's release, unless it's to provide hapless daters with a "take" they can regurgitate to their escort in the hopes of facilitating dry-humping. As a result, we almost never read New Yorker movie reviews, because by the time we see the damn films, our New Yorker is pee-stained and on the bathroom floor.
But to proceed - it was a fine and entertaining work, and Jack, who of all people should be wary of the dangers of extraneous exposition, is quite right to point out that it does away with such nonsense.
But one wonders, and invites readers to wonder: how much of the laughter you will hear if you see this movie at a theater, and you will hear quite a bit, comes from the fact that the type of folks at Lammele and Landmark Cinemas and the like enjoy laughing at poor and ignorant people. Indeed, several bursts of laughter came only from the fact that poor people eat shitty food and have shitty jobs and live in shitty places (we mean shitty both figuratively and literally). Also, people seem to have too much of a hard-on for silly dance routines - the same jerks who were cackling away at Summer's skit are the folks who name their trivia team "Sometimes I Doubt Your Committment to Sparkle Motion" when they turn up at Peet's Candy Store.
How does this relate to Jack, you may ask? PROPOSED: Jack has many vices and flaws, which he is all too happy to enumerate himself. But he has the fine and unusual trait, by and large, of not taking delight in the misfortunes of others. And his enjoyment of cultural offerings is a pure one, interested only in what legitimate emotions and perceptions are inspired, and not what sort of social status he can grant himself by laughing at appropriate moments, and what backwards school administrators he's retroactively punishing by guffawing at a movie in which they are skewered.
Readers as always are invited to prepare papers on this subject for the Clinomania Conference, to be held July 31 in Tokyo.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
On "Tuna Salad"
A tone of regret, perhaps, in Jack's recapping of his weekend?
We've noted lately in conversations with colleagues that Jack's writings have increasingly become not merely a source of interesting meditation on the mind and body, and the pinball role of the human form, bouncing about in a hyper-wired world of entertainment and dazzlements, but also a source of news. Indeed, many of our associates on the West Coast seem to look to Jack as kind of torn up newspaper, offering hints of the stories worth reading, but not full details.
This is an interesting experiment in information theory, and one that no doubt Jack has many reasons to be proud of. What can one extrapolate about external events from the redigested brain blatherings of one of the participants?
But we here at Somenotions find this development somewhat regrettable if it results in Jack turning, as he seems to today, from a higher level of musing to a more mundane recitation of things that transpired. We look to Jack for a more refined type of commentary, not to serve as a mere boozy weekend Tom Brokaw.
Friday, July 23, 2004
On "The Laughing Song"
What are we to make of the tone of resignation Jack embeds in this post? Some less than alert readers may have missed it, as they've grown accustomed to skimming through Jack's prose without noting how each word locks together in an intricate latticework, so we quote:
One error I made was not having had dinner. In the future I will continue to make similar errors to these and many other errors I have made in history for, oh, probably the rest of my life due to the nature of human beings. Maybe one day I will, significantly, change - this is possible, but a rare thing in the nature of human beings.
A constant theme in Jack's writing is the inevitability of mistakes, but this is an unusually candid and thorough appraisal of his situation. Moreover, it's well-put- succinct, accurate, ringing with precision. One thinks of Hemingway's charge to young writers: "Write the truest sentence you can." Jack has made a noble effort here, thrice over.
But how do we process this acceptance of flaw and inevitable regression with Jack's steady drumbeat of annoyance at the failings of others? Design flaws, creative miscalculations, poorly conceived marketing strategies - his blood constantly boils when he encounters these phenomena, and yet he is unusually candid in realizing, examining, and processing his own shortcomings.
Perhaps much of the humour of Jack's writing comes from this paradox: even as he is driven to madness by the constant folly of human life and experience, he finds himself turning about and biting his own ass for the selfsame reasons. It's a cycle of critique, appraisal, and re-appraisal that replicates itself. . . into perpetuity?
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
A special notice to our readers: those who are ungodly bored are invited to examine http://bloodsweeps.blogspot.com
That will be the last said about this matter.
On "Style Corner"
Our many readers love to bitch and moan at every occasion about the lack of continued critical commentary on Clinomania, this despite the fact that our lapses are always explained through one of several causes, namely laziness, fear of computer-reading security robots, and poor wireless connection caused by sunspots.
But the one overriding cause for laxity here at Somenotions is the sheer overwhelming volume regularly churned out by Jack. How is one meant to keep up with a fellow who types in his every perception of boob and film?
Which is why we took delight in "Style Corner." Here is Jack offering terse, polished observations of the immediate world around him.
DIGRESSION: What is one to make of the contrast in Clinomania between Jack's obsession and fascination with the extreme local, his immediate surroundings (consider "Incredible True Stories of Last Night, 7/8/04) and his broader compulsion to comment on the massive, non-geographical world of popular culture, and to perceive said world as though it were personally aimed, sniper-like, at him? We have here a writer who monitors every last hair and footsmell on his body, and at the same time turns his gaze to widescreen and takes in all of Hollywood, popular music, etc. Yet he seems to view popular culture only in the miniature, the personal - by this we mean he extrapolates larger theories by stitching together from the images that flash before him on his TV, on his Internet pod, on his music portal. For one who feels and senses popular culture in such personal, vivid ways, it makes sense that every ill-conceived movie and magazine feature is seen as a personal insult, an attack on one's own body.
Perhaps you see where we're going with this: The macro and the micro for Jack are one and the same. "Hollywood" is no more distant than his own stinkfeet, because it flashes before his eyes, and he perceives it as just another sensory tentacle touching his fragile body. The foolish miscues of television executives affect Jack as deeply as does a misplaced bag on Layfayette Street. He does not distinguish between distant sources and nearby ones: all are lumped together as equally distracting inputs.
We are considering developing these ideas into a full article; perhaps to be titled "Purportion - Per Portion: Space and Perception in 'Clinomania'". There's ample material to flesh out (if you will) the idea that Jack's driving idea for Clinomania is that all inputs are heaped together in the same bin. A woman's tit he spies on East 9th, something Yang says, an e-mail from his boss, the gentle nuzzle of a dog, stupid scenes from "Waking Life," the latest Lil' Wayne recording - all of these come into Jack's ken with equal velocity.
Tentative conclusion then: Jack is the prime example of the man of what we dub the "supramodern" age. External media, internal thoughts, and physical sensations are all processed in exactly the same way for him. The "supramodern" man does not distinguish between motive, point of origin, or creation when it comes to sensations - he merely adjusts his dial and proceeds.
Anyway, "Style Corner" was well-put, stated with sharpness. Too often Jack leaves little to the reader's imagination, but with this post we ourselves are meant to cast a picture of a denim store in an East Village apartment complex, and the retardedness thereof. This post is not unlike the woman he described therein - showing a little bit of her butt, and leaving the perceiver to form the rest according to his wishes.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
A word on Clinomania's explosive burst of wet postings, and our by contrast dry and brany occasional squeeze-out. Of late we find we simply can't keep pace with Jack's verbal output. There is much for criticism here - Jack returning again and again to spar with his old ringmate, Hollywood; Jack's musings on the state of his own life, physical and otherwise; Jack's presentation of a somewhat dark view of human experience. And in time, all these areas will be explored. We apologize to our scores of readers who look to us to frame their reading experience of Clinomania.
But our relative dearth of late provides an opportunity for you, the reader, to engage Jack's text free of textual analysis and critical proposal and dissection.
Suggested questions to guide the for-now unaccompanied reader:
-How does Jack's physical condition (his hangovers, his odd hairs, his tummy-state) shape his view of his external surroundings? Does Jack offer up his own form as a kind of barometer? A buoy, the bounces of which on the briny toss reflect the volubility of the seas?
-What of Boat? Is the name a metaphor? Representing "boat"?
-Is Jack's alcoholism fuel for the fire or grist for the mill?
-Jack dances around the fact that he travels in the world of "design." And yet his life, his thoughts, his adventures, seem so undesigned, so spontaneous. Is this most arch of paradoxes purposeful? Are we to see Jack as a divine jokester, a heyoka figure making sport of the world, or are we to see his misadventures rather as the pitable misfortunes of a pilgrim walking the earth?
Friday, July 09, 2004
On "Incredible True Stories"
Exceptional post. To the point, well-phrased, vivid. Some writers "show" without "telling," but Jack manages to make the telling half the adventure. Certain stupid authorities on writing, like our old Expos teacher, just wouldn't understand that. But Jack, with very few words, builds an entire evening for our understanding and amusement.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Jack's posts on the subject of his recent visit to Maine were something of a disappointment, we must say. Some highlights, certainly - no doubt a "hot air balloon ride to the supermoon" is exactly the sort of Clay Aiken consummation a woman of Mrs. Russell's legendary chastity would desire.
But this is the same Casco Bay that inspired Winslow Homer, and some other guys, like movie director John Ford
. So one might have hoped that Jack would be raised to mammoth new heights by the rich vividness of his oceanic surrounds.
He falls a bit short of that lofty goal. No doubt because of his Demon, beer, and a disease he appeared to have at the time that caused awful red splotches to appear on his face.
Yet his description of "Eggspectations" is fine Jack, indeed. For it hits at the essence of a what a reader finds so thrilling about Jack's raconteurery. Namely, his ability to convey, through one or two well-chosen details, the feeling that the story he merely hints at is a wonderful one. One is left feeling that Jack's posts are but a tiny sampling of his high adventures, an etching or two scratched on a wall mid-transit. His weblo' thus achieves a function not unlike the slight fold in a woman's blouse as she turns to snag the mustard from a nearby table at a cafeteria, and said fold hints at her firmness of boober. This is what we mean when we make our frequent claim that Jack's prose is "like the old tittyfold."
12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
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10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006